The River, Chattanooga

The River, Chattanooga


Chattanoogans, or ‘noogans, love their town. It has an identity. Outside Magazine recently knighted Chattanooga as the best city in America! The outdoor enthusiasts and entrepreneurs rub shoulders with suburbia, Bible-belt ‘merica. We love the outdoors. We love Chattanooga. For decades, Precept Ministries has offered training workshops on our beautiful campus in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  People throughout the world have been encouraged and equipped by the Spirit of God through inductive Bible study on our campus. One of our more recent training workshops took place in Chattanooga, but not on Precept’s campus.

Chattanoogans love their coffee too. Every month more coffee shops, roasting companies, and latte art contests pop up over the city. Nestled within the business district of Chattanooga’s downtown, within walking distance of major corporations is a coffee house called Cadence Coffee. One caveat, the owner/barista is a pastor. The coffee house doubles as a church, a gospel-driven outpost within the city.

Precept’s campus is in the suburbs, an escape.

Cadence Coffee and The River Church are in the city center, within the hustle and bustle of the city.

It was against this backdrop that I had the opportunity to train a group of leaders who wanted to learn how to use the tool of inductive Bible study to disciple others. With the aroma of stout, locally roasted espresso in the air, we jumped into the Word of God together. Using a resource called Breaking Free From Fear, we inductively studied passages where Jesus encountered the disciples during some stormy situations. The basic jist of inductive Bible study – you get into the Word of God for yourself, jumping in to see what the text says. With the Spirit of God as our teacher, we looked at the text, determined the meaning of the text, and we were blown away by the way that the Lord has orchestrated situations and events in our lives as we applied the text. The leaders in the room not only learned how to inductively study, but they also got hands on experience in sharing the tool of inductive study with others. They discipled other people in the room with the tool. They prayed, asking the Spirit of God to show them who they needed to begin discipling with inductive Bible study. Little did we know how immediate the answer to that prayer would be!

Pastor Shannon Greer organized this training workshop in the city. A pastor passionate about his people getting into the Word of God for themselves!

At Precept, pastors are our number one customers.

When pastors are pumped about their people wielding the Word of God, then it changes everything.

  • When pastors are pumped about anything, fill in the blank...
  • When pastors are pumped about the gospel of Jesus Christ being central, the body uses this lens in their life.
  • When pastors are pumped about church planting, then they pray, coach, equip, send, and support.
  • When the pastor and elders know the benefit of their people being equipped for the works of service outside of the walls of the church, then they leverage resources for people to get equipped, calendars get freed up, and people get unleashed where they live, work, and play (outside of the walls of the church).

The week after this training workshop, Pastor Shannon began incorporating inductive study principles with a Bible study he leads on Wednesday nights. The Wednesday after the workshop, this group started walking through the book of John. People from all walks of life in the city have joined.

Fast forward a little over a month

I went back to Cadence Coffee House to have coffee with a guy from my church. Pastor Shannon was my barista extraordinaire, giving me both a great cup of coffee and an update. He told me about what the Spirit of God has been doing through the Wednesday night Bible study. Though it was six thirty in the morning, I was so pumped! Knowing that I couldn’t do the story justice and knowing that it would greatly encourage you, I asked Shannon if he could write it down. He forwarded me a note that he had written about when their community Bible study got to John 3:1-12. If you’re not familiar with John 3, this is where Nicodemus, a prominent Jew in Jesus’ time, came to Jesus by night. Jesus explains to him about being born again.

Since we had been talking about Jesus statement in the text about being born again, I simply said, 'If you haven't been born again, made a new person, you could be.' I started praying. I could hear one lady, Lisa crying and praying aloud, and faint whispers of others, but I had no clue until I opened my eyes that 5 people were standing around our table, asking to be born again!!!!

Afterwards I encouraged them to come to church on Sunday, because I wanted our entire church family to celebrate with them their decision to be born again.  I told John, 'Man - if you really want to be baptized be here Sunday and we'll take you down to the river after church and baptize you.'  Almost immediately the other four folks who stood and two other people chimed in and said 'We want to be baptized too!'  So we made it official right there.  Sunday after church!

Gary, who you know has been with us for a long long time, said 'I want to be baptized but I work on Sunday mornings.'  He sells papers.I asked him if he wanted to be baptized right then and he said yes.  Two of the other folks said they wanted to be baptized right then as well.  So, in the book of Acts style just like Philip and the Ethiopian we loaded up and went straight to the river and baptized three of the original seven who said they wanted to be baptized."

Praise the Lord!

Well, just like the Lord the story continues. Almost every week after this, people have been trusting Jesus and being baptized! The people of God, using the Word of God, depending upon the Spirit of God...

Want to know more about Precept Ministries Inductive Bible Study Method? Check out this free online training.



Oh Jesus, I've killed a man!

Oh Jesus, I've killed a man!